Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Zotero by Deb Hoskins

I use Zotero ( as my research note-taking system, and I teach students how to use it too. It mimics my old system that I learned in graduate school – separate bibliography cards and note cards with hand-written entries, sortable to an evolving outline, and filed in shoeboxes. Zotero functions within a web browser (Firefox, Chrome, or Safari), and there is now a stand-alone version as well. Because Zotero stores information in a cloud, I can have my work with me anywhere I go. Zotero captures a copy of any electronic source and generates a bibliography entry. Then I record my own notes on the sources. I can tag each note for quick searching, and generate citations that import easily from right inside Microsoft Word using any variety of citation styles. Students can collaborate very easily in Zotero simply by setting up a shared folder. This video explains the major features of Zotero Because our librarians are awesome, Jen Holman has developed an excellent library guide to help us and our students learn how to use Zotero ( Zotero also has a mobile application called ZotPad, designer for both iPhone and iPad (

Other developers have created a variety of enhancements, including apps for Apple and Android devises that allow you to view your Zotero library and attachments on a mobile devise, and/or apps or plugins to send a .pdf to an annotation/highlighting program (like Notability for iPad), where you can highlight and make comments on the .pdf, then send the .pdf back into Zotero, saving each highlight and annotation as a separate note.

No more shoeboxes.  And I don’t have to store my precious research notes in the freezer in a vain and paranoid attempt to protect them from fire.

Submitted by Deb Hoskins, CATL